Promising New Legislation for Flint’s Water Crisis
Flint, Michigan has been suffering from a water emergency for over three years. Budget cuts in Michigan ended up affecting basic necessities, including drinking water. Bankole Thompson, a reporter for the Detroit News, is calling this “Michigan’s Katrina.” He says that the state has created this problem for itself by ignoring important findings regarding resident’s health over the past few years. Following the initial discovery of the lead crisis, the mayor, backed by the Department of Environmental Quality, discredited residents’ concerns and said that the water was up to standards (Fonger). However, the takeover by the EPA a year later would suggest otherwise (Davey). Studies done by Virginia Tech showed that there is, in fact, an increased level of lead in the water supply (Davey). Unfortunately, this research went ignored, and the residents’ pleas for clean water only intensified.
Overall, there has been a seemingly apathetic response from the local and state governments. Since the switch of the pipelines from Lake Huron to the Flint River, there have been reports of elevated levels of lead in children’s blood (Davey). In addition, there have been only limited warnings about the spreading of Legionnaire’s disease – a severe type of pneumonia that can be spread through contaminated water sources (Davey, Legionnaire’s Disease). Finally , there have been state level restrictions preventing the city from switching their water source back to Lake Huron until the pipeline is completed, leaving the locals of Flint desperate for relief (Davey).
After switching the water source to the Flint River, forgoing corrosion controls, failing to issue proper alerts, and ignoring research and alerts from researchers and medical professionals, Flint Michigan may finally be seeing some relief from a new piece of legislation passed in the Senate (Davenport). The Water Resources and Development Act is meant to aid poor communities, including Flint, that are affected by lead-contaminated water supplies (Davenport). Funding allocated by the new piece of legislation could help purify the water supply and get clean water to an increasing number of people (Davenport). There is much potential for this act to have positive effects on the water supply in Flint, however, whether or not the funding will come through is another issue altogether. The bill awaits deliberation in the House, where the amount of spending will be determined, should the bill be passed. But with a 95-3 vote in the Senate, the its prospects are looking good.
Davenport, Coral. "Senate Approves Funding for Flint Water Crisis." The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Sept. 2016. Web.
Davey, Monica, and Mitch Smith. "What Went Wrong in Flint." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Mar. 2016. Web.
Fonger, Ron. "City Adding More Lime to Flint River Water as Resident Complaints Pour in." MLive.com. Advance Digital, 12 June 2014. Web.
"Legionnaires' Disease." Encyclopedic Dictionary of Genetics, Genomics and Proteomics (2004): n. pag. CDC, 18 July 2016. Web.
Thompson, Bankole. "Thompson: Flint Crisis Is Michigan's Katrina." Detroit News. The Detroit News, 13 Jan. 2016. Web.